The first overseas branch of Maybank Islamic Berhad, the largest Islamic bank in Malaysia, has opened in Dubai.
Maybank Islamic, the Shariah-compliant division of Malaysia's largest lender Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), was granted the full Islamic banking licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in July 2019.
"With Dubai being a leading Islamic economic centre, it was timely for Maybank Islamic to be here to tap into the increasing demand for financing in the global halal economy and to become a link between the GCC countries and the world's fifth largest economy that is the ASEAN economic community," said Dato' Mohamed Rafique Merican, group CEO Maybank Group Islamic Banking and Maybank Islamic CEO.
With Dubai being a leading Islamic economic centre, it was timely for Maybank Islamic to be here to tap into the increasing demand for financing in the global halal economy"
"We look forward to making the Dubai DIFC branch our hub for the MENA region."
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and president of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) attended the official opening at DIFC.
"Islamic Finance is a key element of Dubai's economic strategy... The establishment of the first overseas office of Malaysia's largest Islamic bank in Dubai is an acknowledgement of Dubai's pivotal role at the heart of the Islamic economy and the strong advantages it offers institutions who base themselves here," Sheikh Maktoum said.
"Over the coming decade, Dubai aims to further consolidate its role as the capital of the rapidly growing Islamic Economy sector, which currently caters to the needs of about a quarter of the world's population. By building this sector, we look forward to creating new economic opportunities and establishing new partnerships that can bolster not only the development of the region but also the strength and sustainability of the global economy," he added.
The bank said it will start with a lean presence in the region with a team of nine, and focus on wholesale banking with an emphasis on corporate financing, treasury and capital markets and trade finance. For now the bank will focus on the GCC markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC said: "The DIFC continues to be a catalyst for growth in the Islamic finance sector, offering sharia-compliant products and services to over 600 million Muslims in the Middle East and Africa region alone.
"We are committed to continuing to support the growth of sharia transactions in the DIFC and transforming the future of finance," he added.
Maybank Islamic joins more than 2,300 active registered companies at DIFC and comes at a time as Dubai is seeking to establish itself as the capital of the Islamic economy.